Sensational Jewiss takes maiden win
Kiern Jewiss has finally secured his long awaited maiden win in the Ginetta Junior Championship after a dramatic final race at Knockhill saw the FM Conway-sponsored driver claim victory in the weekend’s feature race on ITV 4.
The victory marks the highlight of Kiern’s sensational rookie season; from entering the series late and missing the majority of pre-season testing, to now becoming a race winner and putting himself well within the mix for the championship title.
Kiern’s start to the weekend saw him get to grips with the undulating Knockhill circuit quickly as he displayed good pace through the week’s practice sessions. Carrying this momentum through to the weekend, Kiern finished Saturday morning’s practice session in 3rd place on a drying track and filled himself with confidence heading into the weekend’s 15-minute qualifying session.
Picking up pole position last time out at Snetterton, Kiern headed into the session confident of picking up a good starting place for the weekend’s two races. Spending the majority of the session near the top of the leaderboard, Kiern’s best time of 1:01.941 was enough to see him secure second place for race one at Knockhill – confirming a Douglas Motorsport 1-2.
Kiern’s consistency however meant he was able to snatch pole for race two as his second fastest time of 1:02.016 pipped, championship leader, Sebastian Prialux to pole by just 0.033 seconds!
Starting on the front row for race one at Knockhill, Kiern lined up against teammate Daniel Harper and got a good start off the line and maintained the Douglas Motorsport 1-2 through the opening two laps. With the leaders still in a close pack, positions behind the Douglas pair were ever changing and Kiern was having to pay close attention to his mirrors while also pushing Harper for the race lead.
As Kiern began to gain ground on Harper, he launched an attack for the race lead but failed and lost momentum, falling down the order to 5th place and leaving himself with a lot of ground to make up. Determined to make up the positions he had just lost, Kiern began his fight back and drove outstandingly to navigate his way back up the order. Passing Sebastian Priaulx, Kiern was on the back of the fight for second place as the race reached the halfway stage.
As Harper dropped down the order, promoting Kiern to 3rd, Kiern was on the tail of Tom Gamble and pulled off another solid move to move himself in second place and in the hunt of Harry King who had now pulled out a two second gap.
Trying to keep up with King, Kiern couldn’t minimise the gap and finished the race in second place ahead of Sebastion Priaulx who came home in third. Another rookie win for Kiern who made it his eighth trip to the podium in nine consecutive races – leaving the Kent-based driver brimming with confidence before the day’s second race.
The weekend’s feature race on ITV 4 saw Kiern line up in pole position for the third time this season. In search of his first victory, Kiern and Priaulx got off the line evenly and were neck and neck heading down in turn one. Kiern, on the inside, held the lead and kept Priaulx behind him through a tense opening phase to the race.
Briefly losing the lead to Priaulx down the back straight on the third lap, Kiern took the position back out of the final corner and began to build a gap big enough to deter any attack from Priaulx.
As Kiern and Priaulx built a healthy lead from the trailing pack, the weekend’s first safety car was brought out on the eighth lap – neutralising the race and shrinking Kiern’s lead. As the safety car pulled in on the 12th lap, Kiern’s perfectly timed restart saw him get away from Priaulx who had begun to come under pressure from Harry King. As Priaulx lost second place, Kiern struggled to build a gap and was having to focus on the cars behind who were making ground on him.
As Harper flew through to second place, Kiern had to go defensive to keep Harper behind as the final laps of the race elapsed. With just three laps to go, a first mistake of the race from Kiern saw him briefly lose control and fall into the grasp of Harper who went around the outside of Kiern and into the lead.
Back in the all too familiar second place, a ruthless Kiern began driving with all of his mite to try to clinch the lead back from his Douglas Motorsport teammate. Getting close but not close enough, the race entered the final lap and the final opportunity for Kiern.
Entering one of the toughest corners on the circuit, Kiern didn’t look close enough to pull off a move but launched “the lunge of the century” to go down the inside of Harper and cleanly take the lead with only one corner remaining.
Waving his fist in jubilation out of his Ginetta window, Kiern crossed the finishing line to take home his illusive maiden win in the Ginetta Junior Championship.
Kiern reflected on a fantastic first win.
“I’m so happy to finally get my first win, it’s a special feeling. We had a good start to the weekend and I’ve felt comfortable around the track since the first session. Heading into the weekend I was determined to get a win here and after a strong qualifying it seemed like a real possibility. The team did a fantastic job with the car and gave me the confidence to pull off a move like that on the final lap! It’s a special moment and one I’ll remember. A huge thanks to FM Conway and all of my sponsors because without them today wouldn’t have happened!”
Now on 394 points, Kiern continues to reduce the gap to the championship leader and now trails Sebastian Priaulx by 17 points heading to Rockingham. Talking about his championship chances, Kiern remains calm and collected.
“Obviously the gap has been coming down over the last race weekends and I feel the momentum is with me heading to Rockingham. I’m not getting carried away though and nothing changes in the preparation for the next round, we just take it race by race and put everything into our sessions. No one expects a rookie to win the championship so I’m really relaxed!”
Kieren Clark, MB Partners’ Performance Coach, is delighted with Kiern’s performance this weekend.
“Kiern was fantastic this weekend and really deserves his first win, he’s worked extremely hard all season for it! A first visit to track like Knockhill is never going to be easy, it’s a tough track and short circuit that makes qualifying even more difficult. Kiern’s pace here was consistently quick and his name was around the top the entire weekend. Kiern drove excellently in both races and his move to for the lead was simply sublime! Kiern has a fantastic chance in the championship and the pendulum has definitely swung in his favour!”
The next round of the season takes us to Rockingham Motor Speedway in two weeks’ time for the eighth round of the Ginetta Junior Championship.
Kiern Jewiss #87 Douglas Motorsport
Free Practice 1: 3rd (1:02.300, +0.143)
Qualifying for Race 1: 2nd (1:01.851, +0.090)
Qualifying for Race 2: 1st (1:02.016)
Race 1: 2nd
Race 2: 1st